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The Underground Bunker Year-in-Review starts today: A January for the ages!

2013It’s that time of year, when we look back at the past twelve months and recount the highlights here in the Underground Bunker.

As you settle in for the holidays, we want to give a big thanks to our amazing commenting community, which grew exponentially this year, and day in and day out has made this place what it is.

Now, let’s look back on 2013 and what made it one of the toughest years for Scientology in its history.

We started off the new year with a declaration from Simi Valley — the former Scientologist explained that when she left the church she had become an “independent Scientologist,” but then just a year later she was out all the way. We’ve seen the same phenomenon many times, and now Marty Rathbun himself has provided a sort of book-end for the year, telling the Daily Mail recently that he too now rejects Scientology itself.

It was in the first week of the new year that we also started a new series, reading Scientology’s foundational text with former church member and author Vance Woodward. Week after week, we plowed through a 1950 first-edition of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, and marveled at L. Ron Hubbard’s obsession with the womb, sex, and abortions.

On January 7, John Sweeney’s book came out, and we were on the spot with the first review. The Church of Fear: Inside the Weird World of Scientology was a cracking good read.


The next week, we took some issue with a Tampa Bay Times story describing how the 2010 FBI investigation of Scientology had come to an end.

The next day, on the 14th, a weird story came out of nowhere: Atlantic magazine posted a bizarre “Dear Leader” paean to Scientology chief David Miscavige in what appeared to be the strangest story for a magazine with such a strong reputation. It turned out to be a cleverly-disguised advertisement which was yanked down after howls of derision from the publication’s readers. A year later, the industry is still talking about this disaster of “native advertising.”

On the 16th, we live-blogged the broadcast of Nancy Many’s special on the ID network. What a great dramatization of Nancy’s story.

The next day, Lawrence Wright’s book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief hit bookshelves, and we posted our review. That night, Paul Haggis was on NBC’s Rock Center, and we had another live-blogging session.

As if Scientology’s month wasn’t bad enough already, Luis and Rocio Garcia filed a federal fraud lawsuit against Scientology on the 23rd. Nearly a year later, that suit has now entered a bizarre new phase that has the Garcias, with the court’s backing, exploring the murky world of the church’s monetary trusts.

On the 26th, we reported that Kima Douglas had died on the 14th. She had spent a lot of time with L. Ron Hubbard as his nurse.

And finally, we spoke with Ursula Caberta as she announced her retirement from the state of Hamburg’s government.

What a month. And yet, 2013 had so much more to offer.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 24, 2013 at 07:00

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